New Zealand power past Vanuatu to book semi-final date with Tonga

September 21, 2023 3:12 pm

[Source: OFC Media via Christophe Fotozz]

New Zealand have overwhelmed Vanuatu 27-0 at Stade Pater in Papeete to confirm their place as Group B winners at the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship and set up a semi-final with Tonga on Sunday.

The pre-tournament favourites flexed their muscles and showed their credentials in a dominant display that ensured a 100% record in the group stages.

Four goals in the first-half by centre forward Angela Pivac set the tone for the ninety minutes, with captain Ela Jerez at the heart of her side’s attacking endeavours. Jerez herself grabbed two in the first 45 minutes to add to the score.

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For all of their effort, Vanuatu struggled to make an imprint on proceedings. The occasional foray into the Kiwis half was the most they could muster. Jacklyne Samson had the best chance of the match for her side, drilling into the grateful arms of New Zealand ‘keeper Brooke Neary from around 10 metres out.

There was no let up in the second-half, with Pivac adding to her tally and Jerez clinching her hat-trick just before the hour mark. Substitutes Hannah Saxon and Pia Vlok came on and duly scored as Vanuatu struggled to hold onto the ball.

Vlok went on to complete her hat-trick late in the second-half, with Laura Bennett also coming off the bench to get her name on the scoresheet.

A late penalty was awarded to the Kiwis but Vanuatu ‘keeper Jenifer Homu produced an excellent save to deny Bennett.

Victory for New Zealand sees them top Group B, with Tonga confirmed as their semi-final opponents.

For Vanuatu, they will face the Solomon Islands in the Play-off for 7th place on Monday at 1:45pm.